Minors could test pace-of-game initiatives

Pitch clock may be rolled out in 2015 to allow for further evaluation

The pitch clock was first tested out in a select number of games this fall. (Arizona Fall League)

By Ashley Marshall / MiLB.com | December 10, 2014 1:06 AM

A new initiative to speed up baseball which was trialed during the Arizona Fall League may be tested throughout the higher levels of the Minor Leagues in 2015, it was suggested Tuesday.

The possibility of introducing the pitch clocks in Triple- and Double-A games was floated during a meeting between Minor League Baseball president Pat O'Conner and Major League Baseball's chief officer Joe Torre on the second day of the annual Winter Meetings in San Diego, California.

The clocks were used during a select number of AFL contests in October and November. There's now a chance it will be rolled out over the two Minor League levels to further test the rule under game conditions and help acclimate players in the Minors to the new rules.

"It was part of the discussion," Torre told MLB.com on Tuesday. "It's something that we'd certainly like to see more testing done with, and there is a chance that will happen. I was never a proponent of introducing the clock in baseball, but I went out [to the AFL], and I was pretty impressed. [The clock] was there, but it really wasn't intrusive in any way."

Torre said a key factor in whether the pitch clock gets introduced is whether it causes disruption to the players, and he plans to speak with representatives from the Players Union before any changes are finalized.

Another initiative implemented during the AFL was eliminating the intentional walk by allowing managers to simply wave the opposing batter to first base instead of making pitchers throw the four balls, but Torre said this proposal is unlikely to be continued. Further details on the speed of game initiatives could emerge before the Winter Meetings conclude Thursday.

Ashley Marshall is a contributor to MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @AshMarshallMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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